Why I Don’t Get Salon Manicures

This is a legacy post that I’ve given a facelift because for some reason in April I think it’s a good idea to get a manicure…only to be disappointed every. single. time. Content is the same with spiffed-up formatting and another anecdote from this year.

Bitey

Once upon a time, I was a horrific nail-biter. Jagged, short, lame. I eventually stopped myself, but not by self-torture (bitter nail drops and whatnot), but instead I painted my ragged nails. I eventually did not want to mar the polish (or have it in my mouth), so I eventually broke the habit. Over time, I leveled up my polishing skill and now my nails are awesome and the envy of millions generally pretty nice!

In a Groove

Since then, nails became my thing. Long before I bothered with makeup or tried to pretend that I could manage my hair, nails were my thing. I feel put together when they’re tidy. My polish collection is decent and find the process relaxing, especially when I’m using gel polish that is relatively odor-free. I rarely have to clean around the nail afterwards, and I rarely have to retouch.

Praise be to DIY

I DIY most of my own manicures and do not bother with salon manicures. So many salons that are in a friendly price point do not take time with their clients; it’s all quantity over quality. I hate being rushed and I hate paying so much (even at a ‘friendly’ price point) for something I can do 20x better myself.

Beyond that, my collection consists all of polishes I like, so I don’t risk going to a salon and being left with a picked-over, old, separated, and thinned-with-thinner OPI polishes that are, frankly, the odd ones out – or, in the case of the topcoat in the OPI bottle, not even a freaking OPI product! Although I know I could bring my own polish, I usually don’t; the polish is part of the price for the service. You don’t get a discount for supplying your own product.

I am also not a fan of how it feels when someone else files my fingernails – I can’t describe it, but it bothers me at a cellular level. Too little is done to stabilize my fingers, and everyone knows that back-and-forth zig-zag filing is bad for the nail…yet so many do it! I can do just fine on my own and save money.

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Using Gimme Brow (Or Why I’m an Idiot)

Gimme Brow

Benefit Gimme Brow, $24

My brows hadn’t been touched in months; literally nary a pluck. I’ve been attempting to grow them in so that eventually a semblance of shape could be cultivated from them. Fortunately, I had a voucher for a free brow wax at the Benefit Brow Bar and redeemed it this weekend. In minutes, my brows were whipped into glorious shape.  Sweet success!

After mapping, waxing, plucking strays, and cleaning up, my Arch Expert deftly swiped Gimme Brow, my current go-to brow product, through my brows.

Boy, am I an idiot.

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Why I Canceled Sephora Play

Several months ago, I signed up for my first beauty subscription box, Sephora Play. Optimistic that retail beauty giant Sephora would have the insight required to kick ass and take names in the sub box arena, I eagerly signed up.

After four boxes, I’ve canceled my subscription. I will receive and review October’s box, but that is the fifth and final Sephora Play box I will receive. Unfortunately, I found that Sephora Play is plagued by the same issues as any other beauty subscription box – for now, at least. My optimism, unfortunately, was unfounded.

Where I Take Issue

To date, it seems as though Sephora concocts two boxes based on the profile you create at sign up. The product selections are made for you; they spin this as a convenience. Personally, I’d rather take five minutes to pick from a pool of samples (like when you place a normal order) than have someone pick for me and make choices that don’t work for me.

They spin the fragrances as a bonus but they aren’t really. Let’s be honest, those vials are included in the $10 per month valuation.

There’s this big hoopla about the box being a surprise, even though manufactured leaks occur – there are several Sephora Play, “spoilers,” sites out there.

Instead of consistently getting exciting content in the boxes, they have people creating Spotify playlists. Seriously? Who is actually jumping at the chance to listen to this stuff? I’m a Sephora customer because I’m interested in beauty products, not because I’m seeking sweet hipster tunes.

Sephora Play List

To give you an idea of why I’m canceling, here are my hits, misses, and OKs.

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Worth it? Beauty Subscription Boxes

beauty subscription boxes

Subscription boxes in general are everywhere, catering to various interests and desires. There are boxes for people who want purportedly healthy snacks, boxes for dog owners, boxes for geeks, and, what’s relevant to this blog, beauty subscription boxes.

Like other subscriptions, beauty subscription boxes do several things. They:

  • Give us something to look forward to. Admit it, you like receiving packages.
  • Create an opportunity to try items that we might not otherwise choose to buy for ourselves.
  • Yield the novelty of a value set month-after-month.
  • Enable smaller or newer brands to get their good name out there.
  • Provide a way for established brands to generate buzz about new products.
  • Offer an outlet for brands or retailers to deal with overstock.

Some companies offer subscription boxes for $10 per month (or less if you agree to six months or a year). I’ve tossed around the idea, but until now, I’ve let it go. Here’s why:

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MAC Select Loyalty Program

MAC Select Loyalty

Lipstick addicts, brace yourself. MAC Cosmetics started a rewards program, MAC Select Loyalty.

Being in the US, MAC isn’t available at Sephora or Ulta so until now you couldn’t reap BI or UltaMate rewards from your purchases of Ruby Woo or Candy Yum Yum. That was kind of sad, because the only customer loyalty options you had when it came to purchasing MAC was maybe Macy’s Plenti or Nordstrom’s offerings. And believe me, MAC customers are loyal.

MAC Select features three tiers of perks, all of which include membership exclusives, an expanded Back-to-MAC program, a Back-to-MAC tracker, free samples, and varying degrees of free shipping. The tiers are as follows:

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